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We have found that using traditional computers is not friendly to our PreK students, so we are considering purchasing IPads or Tablets, does anyone have any insight on if there are good apps out there or what programs you can use on tablets?

Last edited by Wormy the Helpful Admin Worm
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There are Story Chimes read-along story apps for iPad.  Stories include: Noah's Ark, The Very First Christmas (the Birth of Jesus), The Story of Easter, Passover, Exodus and Hanukkah.  I'm not sure what else is out there.  I know there are apps for GLO Bible (which provides multi-media tours of certain biblical locations, interactive maps, video, and pictures), a number of Bible trivia game apps,  a live video feed of the Western Wall at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and apps that help you light a Menorah for Hanukkah and play the shofar and David's harp. 


Besides that, the best thing to do is search the app store on iTunes and see what's out there.  If you find enough apps for sale to cover the majority of stories that are in your church's scope and sequence, then go for it.  Otherwise I'd say that ther purchase of all of the iPads might not be worth it.  The tough thing is finding enough Bible related apps for your pre-K kids.  Hope this helps.

Another thing to consider is that since iPads and tablets have smaller screens than laptop or desktop computers, kids may not be able to share as well and see what other kids are doing.  Your best option if you are considering buying iPads for your students would be to purchase enough for all the students in the class.  That could be rather expensive I'd think.

I shudder at the thought of PreK's holding a $400 handheld device.


I taught PreK5th for 10+ years in two different church computer labs using desktops and have had no problem with PreK's -other than trying to get the kids away from the computers!  


If "viewing height" is an issue....  I know of several churches that used a picnic bench so the little kids could sit up a bit higher and slide together. Another found that adjustable height office chairs made it easy for kids to get to the mouse. If you have "computer furniture" that may be part of the problem. Standard long tables are much preferred in multi-age, multi-use lab. I know many PreK-K labs solve their lab config and software issuse by hooking up an older XP laptop to an LCD projector. The little kids love that.


Software for pads is going to be an issue. There are (very) few Bible apps for PreK and none of them very inspiring, especially if you're laying out serious cash for pads. 


In a church setting, I also don't think it's a sin to RESTRICT the lab to older kids if you have to choose between older and younger for whatever reason, or are facing a budget issue.   It is our older children who need the attraction of computers MUCH MORE than our younger ones --who still enjoy crayons.  So I'm not uncomfortable suggesting to anyone that if you can't make it work for PreK's, don't sweat it, and don't break the bank trying. Instead, give the lab time to the older kids who really need it, where the bulk of the software exists, and where the equipment setup is a lot easier and cheaper.


<>< Neil


I don't know how long you have been using computers with your PreK students, but have you talked to Neil at Sunday Software for software ideas and best practices for working with PreK?

I'm also thinking for the money it would cost you to buy touch pads you could make an amazing room specific to PreKs, like an amazing storytelling table with lots of cool story props, so they could re-inact the bible story.

I came across an apps program on the Christmas Story.  Out of curiosity, I had a friend, who's also does Rotation check it out for me, as I could not - she gave it a definite two thumbs down.  She has regular games she's downloaded on her Touchpad for her little grandson which all had way more features and games for a quarter of the cost, said it wasn't worth the money they were asking for.  The site was 3D Digital Bible Books (since this was posted this site is no longer active).

The problem is that for someone to market it, there has to be a buying market, and the Christian Market is not very big!  So you have to look at the cost to create something and what your returns will be.  You are also looking for material specific to PreK so again you've really narrowed the market.  I know, I work in a Christian Bookstore.  And computers labs in churches is again a small market.   And generally Christian publishers prices seem higher, but it's due to the smaller market and they like everyone else have to make a living.

Sorry, I'm not much help as I can see you want to involve the kids in the computer lab and wish you the best of luck in finding a solution that works for your church.

Last edited by Luanne Payne
For me, the real question on using iPads in Rotation boils down to the availability of usable apps for curriculum.  That's something I'd suggest for church Christian Education committes to investigate and download everything they find onto an iPad to test drive.  If there are enough good apps out there to make the purchase of iPads worth it, then go for it.  I would love to hear what apps your church finds.

Volunteer Moderator moved this material here from the Help Forum.

On Sept. 5, 2012 dshaw also had asked about iPads...

Starting the process of updating our computer lab. The computers are older than the kids now, but we'ld love to go with something like an iPad lab. Is anyone else working on this or a similar idea?

 Danny received this reply from Neil MacQueen...

Hi Danny,
There isn't any kid-friendly Christian software for the IPAD.
Most existing Christian software won't work on an IPAD.
And of the kid-friendly software developers I know, none are working on apps for the IPAD or Android (for a variety of reasons I won't bore you with). 

If you're looking for portability AND the ability to run existing or coming Bible story software, quizzes, Bible games, etc., then consider laptops. However, the prevailing learning model is kids cooperating/sharing at the computer. This means the preferred computer is still the desktop with a large screen at a table where 2 or 3 kids can gather with their teacher. It's an ergonomic thing.

On a related issue (which you didn't raise! Cool) ... 

TIME magazine recently ran an article about how tablets/pads are making their way into public school classrooms. It's a subject I started to hear about years ago when entry-level laptop prices dramatically dropped, and again when pads/tablets first came out. 

Tablets in the classroom are typically being used in three ways:

1. Internet access, including search, and access to online books/graphics/content provided by textbook publishers (for a fee).

2. Electronic books, as a way to save on textbooks (though I personally doubt this savings as tablets aren't cheap and likely don't have the life expectancy of paper textbooks.)

3. Receiving/using teacher-generated content.

To say that the average church, volunteer teacher and denominational/independent Christian publishers "aren't there yet", is an understatement. 

The question of tablets/ipads is also a philosophical and cultural issue as well.Sunday School is a cooperative learning environment, and tablet computing is essentially a solitary pursuit, simply due to screensize. 

(Solitary or independent learning makes sense in the public schools where kids are individually graded.) 

Even as computers became relatively cheap, myself and other preached "the gospel of cooperative learning" around the computer, rather than 1 computer per student. (For this same reason I don't much like headphones). Cooperative learning/sharing is a Rotation Model value, as well as, a long-standing Children's Ministry value. 

 And in a later reply as to theories about why no one seems to be developing apps for iPads...

Most software developers, Christian and otherwise, must consider the "installed base" when deciding to devote a small fortune to software development. You can't develop an ipad app, for example, and then "hope" churches will go out and buy ipads for their classrooms. 

Most Christian software developers and otherwise have also figured out that their church customers CANNOT afford to upgrade their hardware every few years. Many churches depend on being able to use free USED hardware. And they don't appreciate it when we build software that won't run on the new computers they bought four years ago. This means we have to build software for the broad middle, not the latest edge.

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Last edited by Luanne Payne

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